It’s a milestone year for Society of the Arts (SOTA) as the organization celebrates 50 years of service to the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. Founded in 1964, the service-oriented volunteer women’s group has contributed more than $1,100,000 to support the museum through its fundraising efforts. From helping curators, conducting tours and visiting schools as docents, assisting with mailings and events, and even working in the gift shop, SOTA members literally pool thousands of volunteer hours each year at the museum. One of its major fundraisers held every other year is the SOTA Show House, which this year will be held April 26 through May 18 in Historic Bethlehem.

This year marks the 41st anniversary of the first Show House, which was held in Bethlehem. Locations selected by SOTA members have included Allentown, Macungie, Breinigsville and Coopersburg. Distinctive homes have been transformed into showcases of design by local interior designers and landscapers, and open to the public for tours. Proceeds support educational programs at the museum and an educational endowment fund, as well as the purchase of high-quality prints for the museum’s collection through the SOTA Print Fund.

SOTA has selected the 1870s Federal-style home of arts supporters Drs. Bill and Peggy Hoffman at 47 E. Church St., as the 2014 Show House and has nicknamed it “Downtown Abbey” for its grandeur and connection to the Moravian community. The mansion is situated on former Moravian grounds.

This year’s Show House theme is “Refresh, Renew, Redo!” The home has been divided into 20 distinct design spaces, and local designers will be consulting with the homeowners on how they can showcase their style while keeping the owners’ taste and the home’s style in mind.

Show House co-chairs are Shirlee Neumeyer and Sherry May. SOTA president is Teri Johnson.

A public preview party will be held April 25, from 7:30 to 11 p.m., at the SteelStacks at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, with Show House viewing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A lower ticket price this year ($12 in advance, $15 at the door) reflects SOTA’s mission of outreach to the community and its desire to bring community and the museum together.

“The museum appreciates the hard work and dedication our SOTA volunteers invest in the Show House event,” said David Mickenberg, the museum’s new Priscilla Payne Hurd president and CEO. “It’s a great fundraiser as well as a longstanding tradition that has been embraced by the communities throughout the Lehigh Valley over the last 40 years.”

This will be Mickenberg’s first Show House experience with the Allentown Art Museum since coming on board last November. He succeeds Brooks Joyner, who stepped down last February after successfully opening the museum’s new building expansion. Mickenberg, a Brooklyn native, was CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va., and previously was director of the university art museums at Wellesley (Mass.) College and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

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Australia’s Hannah Bertram is artist-in-residence through Feb. 6, at Kutztown University’s Miller Gallery, working with students and community members in creating a large-scale, site-specific art installation. The installation exhibition will be on view Feb. 6 through March 14.

Bertram will be creating a large-scale decorative ephemeral work made from the dust of Kutztown and Australia. In describing her work, she utilizes “the complex idea of ‘ornament,’ or something that simultaneously adds value and is functionally unnecessary – to transform banal materials into extremely detailed temporary installations.”

Students, faculty and community members are assisting in shifts on a daily basis during the installation.

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The exhibition, “Local Mill Makes Good: Celebrating 75 Years of American Theater at the Bucks County Playhouse,” is running through March 2, at the James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown. It’s a who’s who of American stage and screen in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Included are Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Helen Hayes, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury and Shirley Booth, plus playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. All, plus more, have graced the stage of the Bucks County Playhouse.

The exhibit traces the roots of the historic New Hope landmark venue and its impact on American theater, as well as the regional economy and cultural life.

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International Steinway pianist Jeffrey Biegel will perform at the inaugural Betty Aierstock Moore Memorial Concert in honor of Moravian College’s attainment of “All-Steinway School” status on Friday at 7:30 p.m., at the college’s Foy Hall in Bethlehem. The program will include music selections by Beethoven, Bach, Paderewski and Strauss Jr. The concert is presented in partnership with Jacobs Music of Philadelphia. A reception will follow.

It was a personal connection between Moravian College artist-lecturer in composition Sean O’Boyle and recording artist, composer and arranger Biegel that was instrumental in bringing the pianist to Bethlehem.

Recently, Biegel has performed two world premieres with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and a global webcast with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He performed the premiere of his adaptation of pop legend Neil Sedaka’s “Manhattan Intermezzo” for piano and orchestra with Orchestra Kentucky. He also arranged the piano part for Billy Joel’s “Symphonic Fantasies” in 2006, with performances at national music festivals.

For further info: 610-861-1650